Hamilton ahead of Piastri, Leclerc strong

The first best time of the Monaco weekend goes to Lewis Hamilton. The Formula 1 record winner drove around the 3.337-kilometer track in the principality in 1:12.169 minutes in the first free practice session. However, Mercedes, like many of its competitors, had already put on the soft tires, while Ferrari and Red Bull had left the soft tires on the shelf. After adjusting for tires, Charles Leclerc made the strongest impression.

The result: Lewis Hamilton was only 0.029 seconds faster than Oscar Piastri in the McLaren. Like Mercedes, McLaren had already fitted the softest tires. Behind them were his teammates George Russell and Lando Norris. Charles Leclerc, who drove his fastest lap on the medium tires, was only a good two tenths of a second slower than Hamilton’s best time.

Behind them were the Aston Martin duo Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll. They were already six tenths of a second behind. Yuki Tsunoda, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz completed the top 10. Max Verstappen, who complained about his handling during the session as if he was on a knife edge, only finished eleventh on the medium tyre. Nico H├╝lkenberg finished 16th.

The incidents: As usual in Monte Carlo, there were numerous yellow phases. In Sainte Devote in particular, the drivers liked to drive straight ahead and then showed varying degrees of skill when turning or parking. The harbor chicane was also a popular hotspot for those who brake too late.

Carbon scrap and a short red phase were caused by Guanyu Zhou. The Sauber driver touched the guardrail at the exit of Sainte Devote and shaved off the left front wing end plate. The Chinese driver was able to drive into the pits without any problems and return to the track after changing the nose. However, the session had to be interrupted briefly because of the debris. Leclerc drove over the carbon parts immediately after the accident.

The technology: All teams traveled to the principality with special Monaco packages. The rear wings and beam wings were all positioned steeper into the wind. Many of them also had to slightly adjust the wheel suspension to accommodate the larger steering angle. Sauber came with a major update: the Swiss are now the last team to use a central rear wing strut.

Technical details: Mercedes
All teams brought larger rear wings to Monaco, Photo: Motorsport-Magazin.com

The Monaco opener was unfortunate for Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman was only able to complete ten laps. The reason for this was a problem with his power unit. The Renault engineers had identified a malfunction in a wastegate valve. The problem was only fixed shortly before the end of training.

The weather: After heavy rain the day before, the weather was friendlier on the training day. There was a 40 percent chance of rain and cloudy skies, but the first training session remained dry with air temperatures of 21 degrees and asphalt temperatures of 35 degrees. Similar conditions are expected for the second training session today.

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